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Stated preference methods in health care evaluation: an emerging methodological paradigm in health economics.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health Services Research Division, Case School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945, USA.


One focus of health economics is the trade-off between limited resources and the (health) needs of a community. Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), while being one of the most accepted evaluation methodologies in health economics, does not account for many important costs and benefits of health care interventions. Some health economists have attempted to modify CEA to account for these deficiencies, while others have been working on alternative methodologies. One group of alternative methodologies can be described as stated preference techniques. These aim to measure both health and non-health outcomes (ie costs and benefits), and include qualitative analysis, conjoint analysis (often referred to as discrete choice analysis/modelling) and willingness to pay (or contingent valuation). This paper provides an overview of stated preference techniques in health economics, with particular focus on their strengths as compared with traditional evaluation methods in health care. The limitations and policy implications of these methods are also discussed.

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